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<p>You will learn to name each one of these characters, and you will spend both time and money making sure every one of them is in your house in some way. Welcome to the world of 'Planes'</p>

You will learn to name each one of these characters, and you will spend both time and money making sure every one of them is in your house in some way. Welcome to the world of 'Planes'

Credit: Disney Toons

Review: Disney's 'Planes' offers up exactly what you think it will

Parents know exactly what they're getting into with this one

Earlier today, Entertainment Weekly posted a chat with John Lasseter about the way things are divided between the three different animation companies that all work now under the broader umbrella of "Disney." Walt Disney Feature Animation has always been the crown jewel for the studio, and many of the biggest landmarks in the company's history have been thanks to the efforts of WDFA. Pixar, which began as an independent studio, now operates with what seems to be some autonomy, but considering Lasseter is part of everything now, I'm not sure I see why they bother with the distinction. I'll be honest... what I think of as Pixar is really just a loose collection of very talented people who, when collaborating, represented one of the best story departments in the industry.

Then there's Disney Toons, and I would imagine the people working there must feel a bit like the red-headed stepchild, especially when the main message of the press materials so far has been "We started work on this as a direct-to-video quickie, but it looked nicer than we expected, so we decided to squeeze out a few bucks in the theater first."

Is that fair? Is that what you should carry in with you if you go to see "Planes"?

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10 would-be Oscar contenders that went nowhere

10 would-be Oscar contenders that went nowhere

With the season on the horizon, remember the lessons of these non-starters

As we steel ourselves for the season ahead with early lists of contenders and a harsh spotlight on unassuming films hoping to find an audience, let alone awards traction, it's worth remembering that the list of coulda-been players in a given Oscar season is long and considerable. And if I'm not making the point clear enough early on in that sentence, let me do so now: this is every bit the fault of analysts like me, as much as it is the films themselves, if not more.

Covering the awards season, we forecast, we look ahead, we see how things look on paper and we set sometimes unfortunate bars. Not every film is looking for that kind of exposure, and often enough, the inflated expectations of industry watchers get in the head of many a would-be player only to amplify the eventual disappointment of a dead end. That having been said, there are obviously many films that set their sights on the awards race with the right formula, or so they thought, only to come up empty-handed at the end of the day. We see them every year.

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<p>Robin&nbsp;Williams and Forest Whitaker in &quot;Lee Daniels'&nbsp;The Butler&quot;</p>

Robin Williams and Forest Whitaker in "Lee Daniels' The Butler"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Will 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' be an awards season preface or just a puffy prelude?

Oprah Winfrey, if nothing else, would appear to have a great shot at recognition

Showbiz 411's Roger Friedman -- who some might call a noted Harvey Weinstein shill -- bloviated about "Lee Daniels' The Butler" under the cover of "Oscar observation" a few weeks ago but apparently no one else could. The embargo is up today so let's get into it. The question on this one is, will it be an awards player or will it just fade out before the season even gets here? A few thoughts...

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CBS developing 'Dorothy,' a medical drama inspired by 'The Wizard of Oz'

CBS developing "Dorothy," a medical drama inspired by "The Wizard of Oz"

The proposed show from the producers of "Sherlock" will use "Oz's" characters and themes.

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Report: MSNBC giving Alec Baldwin a weekly primetime show

Report: MSNBC giving Alec Baldwin a weekly primetime show

Baldwin's show would occupy the 10 pm Friday timeslot, which is currently occupied by "Lockup," according to Mediaite, which says that Baldwin will use his show to espouse his liberal views.

Hilarie Burton joins "Hostages"

The "One Tree Hill" alum will recur as  Tate Donovan's assistant.

Harry Dean Stanton and Daniel Stern are "Getting On" HBO

They'll appear on the HBO remake of the BBC medical comedy.

Molly Sims to guest on "The Carrie Diaries"

She'll romance Austin Butler's character.

"Parenthood" enlists a "90210" alum to romance Drew

Lyndon Smith will recur next season.

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<p>GinaMarie. In a Shame Cone.</p>

GinaMarie. In a Shame Cone.

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday Results - Double Elimination

Would a Week of 'Big Brother' in an hour shake things up?

I have no clue what has happened on "Big Brother" in the past week, thanks to Time Warner Cable and CBS. 

From reading Liane's recaps, I know that Amanda, Spencer and Candice are on the block and from various bits of online scuttlebutt, I know that Amanda has basically gone crazy, while Spencer has continued his long run of variably horrifying comments that CBS is choosing not to air.


And from last week, I remember that it's a double-elimination Thursday (August 8), with the regular vote, as well as the always-unsettling Week of "Big Brother" in an Hour wackiness.

Follow along! And forgive me if I lack the con text for certain things. Blame CBS and Time Warner.

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<p>Neko Case</p>

Neko Case

Credit: Neko Case

Listen to another new Neko Case song: Watch the 'Night Still Comes' lyric video

Soulful song from 'The Worse Things Get...'

"Did they poison my food? Is it cause I'm a girl? / If I puked up some sonnets would you call me "a miracle?"

Neko Case gets fairly specific -- and, thusly, cryptic -- on her new song "Night Still Comes." This swaying tune brings in soul and gospel elements into its killer chorus, and the large chorus that sings her chorus. "You never held it at the right angle," they sing, never naming what "it" is as she relates how a forest consumes her and the ocean dashes her biggest "plans."

"Night Still Comes" is yet another example on Case's next album "The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You" of slipping her character's gender into the "Fight." On "Man," she took up a male as its subject, but not just any male: a very male-y male, an archetype of manly adages in song. Here, pairing the term "puke" up with "is it 'cause I'm a girl" makes it really confrontational, even if we still have no idea what the hell is going on.

I'll just mark this as another good one from Case, whose "Worse Things Get" is out on Sept. 3 via Anti-. The album features guest spots from M. Ward, members of The New Pornographers, My Morning Jacket, Calexico and more. Full tracklist and tour dates are below.

Here is the tracklist for "The Worse Things Get":

1. Wild Creatures
2. Night Still Comes
3. Man
4. I’m From Nowhere
5. Bracing for Sunday
6. Nearly Midnight, Honolulu
7. Calling Cards
8. City Swans
9. Afraid
10. Local Girl
11. Where Did I Leave That Fire
12. Ragtime

Here are Neko Case's tour dates:

8/09 – Edmonton, AB @ Edmonton Folk Festival
8/11 – Regina, SK @ Regina Folk Festival
8/24-25 – Monterey, CA @ First City Festival
9/06 – Chicago, IL @ A.V. Fest/Hideout Block Party
9/08 – Portland, OR @ Musicfest NW
9/11 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
9/12 – Phoenix, AZ @ Orpheum Theater
9/13 – Santa Fe, NM @ Lensic Performing Center
9/14 – Denver, CO @ The Ellie Caulkins
9/16 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Red Butte Garden Amphitheater
9/17 – Boise, ID @ The Knitting Factory
9/18 – Seattle, WA @ The Paramount
9/19 – Eugene, OR @ The Cuthbert Amphitheater
9/20 – Vancouver, BC @ Orpheum Theater
9/25 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
9/26 – New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall
10/04-06 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
10/05-06 – Los Angeles, CA @ Way Over Yonder Fest
10/11-13 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
10/15 – Lawrence, KS @ Liberty Hall
10/16 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
10/17 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
10/19 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
10/20 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
10/23 – Nashville, TN @ The Cannery
10/24 – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre
10/26 – Durham, NC @ The Durham Performing Arts Center
10/27 – Charlottesville, VA @ The Paramount
11/01 – Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre

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Katherine Heigl wants to make a TV comeback

Katherine Heigl wants to make a TV comeback

The former "Grey's Anatomy" star is attaching herself to a drama project that's being pitched to the networks.

Damian Lewis: "Homeland" Season 3 will focus on Brody's relationship with his daughter
He says that relationship, rather than the Carrie relationship, will be front and center this season.

Who will replace Ann Perkins as Leslie Knope's "Parks and Rec" BFF?

Exec producer Michael Schur says they'll "position different people to fill in parts of her emotional world. It won't be just one person."

Simon Cowell and Howard Stern tie for the highest-paid TV personalities

They each made $95 million in the past year, though Stern's salary comes mostly from his satellite radio gig.

Connie Britton has received a "Friday Night Lights" movie script

"I think it’s just a matter of finding a time when everyone can do it," she tells Ladies' Home Journal.

Watch a "Breaking Bad" Season 5 gag reel
Featuring Badger and Skinny Pete. PLUS: Check out the "Breaking Bad" gambling prop guide, and "Breaking Bad" as infographics.

Justin Guarini recounts his post-"Idol" depression

Guarini talks to OWN about learning he was dropped from his record label from "SNL."

Piers Morgan does not fear going up against Fox News' Megyn Kelly
"Bring it on," the CNN host tweeted when the Drudge Report revealed that Fox News was moving Kelly to the important 9 pm hour. PLUS: Fox News declines comment to Fox News.

"The Bachelor" Juan Pablo: "The Whitest Latino Ever"?
As the CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition points out, when Hollywood goes Hispanic, "they almost always go to the white ones." PLUS: "The Bachelor" has received 3,000 new submissions for Juan Pablo -- read the casting call.

"Suits" pays homage to "The Wire"
Watch a S-word tribute.

Edie Falco once starred in an Apple ad
See the "Nurse Jackie" star in a commercial for Macintosh.

Anderson Cooper's alleged stalker indicted

Queens resident Alex Hausner has been ordered to stay away from the CNN host.

Larry David pitches himself as an NFL coach
In an NFL Network podcast, David says, "If they gave me a chance, I could turn the fortunes of an NFL team around."

Not just Hillary: Most political miniseries come with controversy

Remember CBS' "The Reagans" and "The Kennedys"?

Check out "Boardwalk Empire's" Season 3 poster

With Nucky Thompson in the front.

"Dexter's" Ice Truck Killer join "Haven"

Christian Camargo will recur in Season 4 as Duke's estranged half-sibling Wade.

Is "Honey Boo Boo" an attack on working class families?

How reality shows about poor rural people help spread intolerance and ignorance.

"Girls" star Adam Driver models for the Gap
Check out his poses for the autumn/winter campaign. PLUS: It's Adam vs. Siri in "Girls" deleted scene.

"Duck Dynasty" meets New York Fashion Week

Willie Robertson's daughter, Sadie, is going to walk the runway.

Watch the full "Masters of Sex" trailer

The Showtime drama premieres Sept. 29.

See a "Once Upon a Time" blooper reel

One minute of hilarity.

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'Sharknado' sequel gets a title: 'Sharknado 2: The Second One'

"Sharknado" sequel gets a title: "Sharknado 2: The Second One"

The title was selected from 5,000 submissions on Twitter. "Since Twitter played such a huge role in the success of the original movie, we wanted to use that platform to ask our fans to name Sharknado 2," says Syfy exec Thomas Vitale. PLUS: "Sharknado" is a hit in Britain.

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Lady Gaga gets naked for... art, I guess? Watch the weird video

Lady Gaga gets naked for... art, I guess? Watch the weird video

NSFW clip titled 'The Abramovic Method Practiced by Lady Gaga'

"The Abramovic Method Practiced by Lady Gaga" is a video of the pop star trying to sing a long tone for a very long time, and posing naked, laying on the floor, standing in a creek, and other various eccentric postures and settings.

No, it's not a music video.It's about three minutes of art that you might not "get," the result of a three-day retreat Gaga spent with the famed performance artist Marina Abramovic, spending time on "series of exercises designed to heighten participants' awareness of their physical and mental experience in the present moment." The Institute released the video in an effort to raise awareness of its Kickstarter -- which, in itself, is something to behold.

The "Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI) will be the first space dedicated to practicing the Abramovic Method, which prepares participants to both perform and observe long durational work," reads the description from the Vimeo page. Maybe Mother Monster is just trying to up her performance ante when it comes to her next album "ARTPOP?"

This video is not safe for work, in case this needs to be repeated.

"ARTPOP" is out Nov. 22, to be preceded by single "Applause," due Aug. 19.

Marina Abramovic was also working with another famous pop star recently for "Picasso Baby": Jay Z.

The Abramovic Method Practiced by Lady Gaga from Marina Abramovic Institute on Vimeo.


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Obama awards Oprah with the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Obama awards Oprah with the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Oprah Winfrey joins former President Bill Clinton and 14 other honorees this year as recipients of the nation's highest civilian honor.

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<p>Lennie James and Mark Strong are Detroit cops in &quot;Low Winter Sun.&quot;</p>

Lennie James and Mark Strong are Detroit cops in "Low Winter Sun."

Credit: AMC

Review: AMC's 'Low Winter Sun' a dark cop drama, but is it a deep one?

Great performances from Mark Strong and Lennie James, but what's it all about?

The wave of quality cable dramas of the last decade has turned into a flood. Everyone's looking for their own "Sopranos," their own "Shield," their own "Mad Men." When you start factoring in streaming video services like Netflix and Hulu (which are both making their own programming and importing terrific shows from overseas), it's inarguable that there are more good dramas than at any point in the history of the medium.

But what's also become obvious of late is just how hard it is to make these shows work. Too many shows have been made under the mistaken belief that all you need to achieve greatness is to follow a familiar recipe. Take imposing character actors as leading men, add anti-heroes in a world full of moral ambiguity, a cinematic look, some colorful dialogue, and preferably some graphic violence, and your would-be "The Wire" will be baked in 35-40 minutes, right?

These shows have the appearance and texture of the greats of past and present, but there's something empty and unsatisfying about them. They tend to lack the ingredients you can't just buy at the store: a distinctive voice and a spark of mad genius. Sometimes, they succeed anyway (Showtime has already renewed "Ray Donovan" for a second season), and sometimes they fail (Starz just canceled "Magic City"), but their separation from the genuine article becomes unmistakable in time. They're the I Can't Believe It's Not Better dramas, and AMC may have another on its hands with "Low Winter Sun."

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